Cannabis Science

Why Does Weed Affect Everyone Differently?

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You might have noticed that you don’t have the same experience with weed as your friends. That’s totally normal. You may have even noticed that different strains of weed make you feel differently. That’s normal too. But why does weed affect everyone differently? Let’s look at some possible reasons.

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Why Weed Affects You Differently

There are several reasons weed affects everyone differently. These reasons can explain you may have a different experience with weed than your peers. For example, you may be searching for a solution to your migraines, and someone suggests weed. However, you may not get relief after taking a hit from your mini bong and are left wondering why. 

Of course, your experience may partly hinge on the concentration of THC. If your weed is high in THC and lowers in CBD, you’re expected to have a stronger high. At the same time, the same concentration of weed can produce different highs in different people due to other factors. 

Differences in how weed affects you can be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Weed strains 
  • Terpene content
  • Stomach content
  • Tolerance

Let’s look at why these factors can affect your weed experience.


As you probably know, our genes affect our lives. Based on your genes, you could be predisposed to certain diseases, have a certain hair color, or be a certain height. Your genes can also affect how you experience weed.

According to a 2019 study, there may be a genetic link to Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) which 10% of cannabis users develop. In other words, there could be a genetic reason why some people get addicted to weed, and some never do. 

A gene being linked to addiction isn’t unique to cannabis. Scientists have been researching various genes and addictions for a while now. 

Besides addiction, your genes may also be the reason why edibles don’t get you high. One of the reasons why some people don’t get high from edibles is that they may be missing a special enzyme called CYP. The amount of CYP enzymes you have is genetic. 

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In addition to that, Medical News Today says your sex may impact how weed affects you. The article discussed a study done on male and female rats and how THC affected them. Female rats developed more tolerance than male rats. It’s believed that this may apply to humans too. 

Professor Rebecca Craft of Washington State University says, “What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating.” 

Medical News Today also says, “Because the females develop tolerance to THC more quickly, they have increased vulnerability to negative side effects such as anxiety, paranoia and addiction.”

Interestingly though, the article says males are more sensitive to the munchies. 

Weed Strain 

The weed strain you consume may affect how you experience weed.

Indica is believed to give you a more relaxing effect, while Sativa gives you a more energizing high. Therefore, if you find yourself sleepy while your friends are bouncing off the walls with energy, this is potentially in part to using different types of strains.

However, not everybody is convinced that weed can be separated into three main strains (Indica, Sativa, and hybrid). Amos Elberg, head of data science at Confident Cannabis told Healthline, “We see samples of all cannabis products tested through our partner labs, and when we look at all the data, particularly of the chemical makeup of flower, we see no identifiable characteristics that are consistent with indica, sativa, or hybrid.” 

This doesn’t mean you can’t have various experiences with weed; it just means that your experiences may be atypical of the strain you use. So a typical Indica strain could give you an uplifting high instead of leaving you couch-locked. 

It’s still worth visiting your dispensary and asking for a strain to give you the desired experience. For example, according to Healthline, the Blue Dream strain can relieve pain and lift your mood. 

At the same time, as Healthline points out, everyone reacts to weed differently. Therefore, weed that is supposed to make you sleepy could have no effect on your sleep. Healthline says, “Every person will experience strains differently. Your physiology and endocannabinoid system, as well as your tolerance to various cannabinoids, is unique.”

You’ll have to find what works for you. 


Terpenes are chemicals typically responsible for the smell of plants. However, there is evidence that, when consumed, it can have specific effects; for example, one terpene, myrcene, may relax you. 

Weed has many terpenes. Some of them include the following:

  • Limonene
  • Linalool
  • Beta pinene
  • Myrcene

So, the specific terpenes found in a strain could impact your cannabis experience. According to Restore Dispensaries, some people have adverse reactions to certain terpenes in marijuana, such as alpha-pinene. Restore Dispensaries said, “In some people, the high pinene and THC level can result in headaches or anxiety. If you are an anxious person and want to consume medical marijuana for calming effects, avoid pinene.” On the other hand, other people can use pinene to focus on their tasks better. 

Stomach Content  

If you eat your cannabis product, whether or not you ate food beforehand could impact your experience too. 

If you eat an edible on a full stomach, you’ll have a less intense high than if you took it on an empty stomach. In addition to that, the high will be delayed if you take the edible on a full stomach. So if you notice that your high came on before your friends, and it seems to be more intense even though you had the same batch of brownies, it’s probably because you took your edible on an empty stomach. 


Tolerance, in this case, means getting used to the effects of weed. Healthline states, “If you ingest THC often, your CB1 receptors are reduced over time. This means the same amount of THC won’t affect the CB1 receptors in the same way, resulting in reduced effects.”

Even your tolerance can be dependent on your own personal biology. That means two people could use the same weed with the same frequency, and one may develop tolerance before the other. In addition to your biology, if you use weed high in THC often, you will likely become tolerant. 

Your tolerance to weed can definitely change the way you experience it. For example, if you have a high tolerance, you may need stronger weed to feel a potent high. On the flip side, if you’re a newbie with low tolerance, a strain that may cause a mild high with more experienced users may cause a strong uncomfortable high for you. 

If you feel like you’re becoming tolerant and want to fix it, you can try a weed tolerance break.


So, why does weed affect everyone differently? The underlying reason seems to be biological Your unique biology can make you have a completely different experience than another stoner. Your biology affects how you respond to certain strains and terpenes and affects your tolerance. However, there are other reasons you may have a different experience than another stoner, and it can be as simple as having a meal before taking your edible. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].